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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Pfizer is undergoing research to determine if the vaccine is safe for the youngest kids, and Children’s Mercy is taking part in the clinical trials.

The KC-based hospital needs children between the ages of six months to eleven years old to volunteer to take part in this study. The data from this six-month process will help them determine if the vaccine is effective in preventing younger children from getting COVID-19.

To reach truly herd immunity, scientists say at least 70% of the population must be vaccinated. That number will be hard to reach without the children.

Right now, only people 16 and older are getting vaccinated. Pfizer recently announced the results of a study involving children between the ages of 12 and 15. The vaccine worked for them, and they might soon be next in line.

But what about those kids under the age of 12? Pfizer just began clinical trials on younger kids, and Children’s Mercy is leading regional efforts to recruit children here. They plan to start with a small dosage of the vaccine and work up, to see how much is safe and effective for younger children.

Those kids involved in the study will be broken up into two groups. Two thirds will receive vaccine while the other third receives a placebo. They will undergo a battery of blood draws, shots and nasal swabs over a six-month period.

These results will allow doctors to learn how to safely immunize children all around the world.

“As you know, children are not little adults, so you can’t give them the adult dose and expect everything will be okay. We have to start by giving them a smaller dose and slowly escalating up,” Dr. Barbara Pahud, director infectious diseases, said. “By the way, your child has a say in this. They must also agree to take part, and they can stop at any time.”

At the end of the study, those in the placebo group will have a chance to get the actual vaccine. If all goes well, they hope to begin vaccinating children under eleven early next year.

The hospital is looking for volunteers. You can sign up with your child on the Children’s Mercy website.